bounce will worry Sri Lanka
By Marlon Fernandopulle
Sri Lanka's 17 member squad will leave for a two tests and five
one day tour to South Africa tomorrow with the intention of acquiring
the much needed exposure and experience ahead of next years World
Cup which is also scheduled in South Africa in February next year.
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Sri Lanka could
not ask for a better time to tour the African continent. With the
countdown for the 8th World Cup already in progress and Sri Lanka
scheduled to play four of their five first round games in South
Africa (including against the host nation) Sanath Jayasuriya's team
has been provided with an excellent opportunity to prepare for the
The two tests
against the strong South Africans will be a testing time for the
Lankans who have packed their squad with Youth. Although the Lankans
have enjoyed success in the one dayers in Morocco and the ICC Knockout
Championship lately their test record away from home is far from
impressive. On the last occasion they were beaten by England 2-0
and will be keen to erase that defeat as they face up to the South
The onus will
once again be on the batsmen who will be up against bowlers of genuine
pace on fast and bouncy tracks. It will be up to the experienced
Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Hashan Tilakaratne
and Russel Arnold to lead the way. All of them have demonstrated
the ability in the past to counter this type of fast bowlers and
will be expected to put their best foot forward if Sri Lanka is
to take up the challenge against the South Africans. Kumar Sangakkara
who is known to be more comfortable on wickets of this nature is
also expected to add muscle to the Lankan batting line up along
with new boy Jehan Mubarak who will be eager to announce his arrival
in the big league.
It's more the
bounce than the pace that will worry the Lankan batsmen in South
Africa. The Lankans are generally comfortable with pace but will
have to use their skills and experience to negotiate the bounce.
Thus the two side games against Provincial sides will be of immense
importance for the Lankan batsmen to gauge the South African wickets.
With a record
of seven medium pacers at his disposal Sanath Jayasuriya should
not have too much of a worry with his bowlers. It will be certain
that the Lankans will use at least three medium pace bowlers in
their final line up for the test matches. Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara
Fernando will be Jayasuriya's first choice bowlers while the other
slot will have to be fought out between Ruchira Perera and the four
rookie medium pacers Chamila Gamage, Tharanga Lakshita, Thilina
Thushara and Sujeewa de Silva.
more suited for medium pacers Sri Lanka will once again look to
their record breaking champion off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan
to run through the South African batting line up. Murali who is
closing in on 450 wickets in a record time is well aware of the
vulnerability of the South Africans to spin bowling.
If the off spinner
can assert his dominance over the South Africans and the Lankan
batsmen can successfully negotiate the pace and the bounce, Sri
Lanka is bound to take the fight to the opposition and challenge
the South Africans in their own backyard.
The team: Sanath
Jayasuriya (Capt),Marvan Atapattu (V. Capt), Kumar Sangakkara,Mahela
Jayawardena, Hashan Tillekeratne, Russel Arnold, Jehan Mubarak,
Muttiah Muralitharan, Hasantha Fernando, Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara
Fernando, Sujeewa de Silva, Tharanga Lakshita, Thilina Thushara,
Chamila Gamage, Prasanna Jayawardena, Rushira Perera. Manager: Air.
Comm Ajith Jayasekera, Cricket Advisor: Duleep Mendis, Coach: Dav
Whatmore, Physiotherapist: Alex Kountouri.
and Chaturi are top swimmers
Asian International School and Ladies College bagged the boys and
girls titles respectively at the National Swimming and Diving Championships
which concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium pool yesterday.
S. Thomas' College
Mt.Lavinia were second in the boys events. They were followed by
Royal and St. Joseph's in that order.
School, Kandy took second place in the girls events with St. Bridget's
Convent coming in third. Museaus and Asian International Schools
ended up in fourth and fifth places respectively. Akshayan Rajasingham
of Asian International School was adjudged the boys champion while
Chaturi Abeykoon of Ladies was the pick amongst the girls.Chanuka
Wickremasinghe of Royal College was adjudged the best diver at the
event. The overall diving champions of the meet were Royal while
in the women's section Royal College Union emerged winners.
S.Thomas' maintained their superiority defeating Air Force in the
final. With the Air Force winning the women's tournament. -